ACT or SAT: Which one should you take?

A pencil and answer sheet. How does it make you feel?pencil and test answer form

Many students look at this picture and immediately feel uncomfortable. It brings back memories of standardized tests and feeling of anxiety. Teachers have impressed on students how important it is to do well.

Using practice tests and taking the preliminary tests will help you feel relaxed. Take enough practice tests and you will feel relaxes and confident on the actual exams.

A Comparison of the two College Entrance Exams

                        ACT                            SAT

.                                             American College Testing            Scholastic Aptitude Test

Where  Most Common?            Middle US States                    East and West Coast States

Best for College?                           Most colleges now accept either test.

Preliminary grades 10-11          PLAN                                      PSAT

Time of Test                             2 hours 55 min + 30                   3 hours 55 minutes

Covered in both tests                    Reading, Math, Grammar, (writing)

Test differences

Content                             Science (reading)                     Vocabulary/Math Reasoning

.                                        Knowledge of content               Logical Thinking

.                                        Achievement Test                     Aptitude Test

Who does best?               Overachievers                             Bright  Underachievers

Number of Questions     215 questions (+ writing)             140 questions + writing

Guessing                        No penalty                                      Guessing Penalty

Essay                             Optional  – done last                       Required –  done first

Other                            Scores predict college degree           Also subject tests offered

This comparison may help some students decide which one to take. In most cases, students who score well on one, also score well on the other.  You can do practice tests for both tests, and take both the PLAN and PSAT and then decide which one to take, or to take both.

Practice for both tests will help you improve skills and should help you improve grades.

Notice that this is an example of a Compare and Contrast chart.

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